I’ve been spending a bit more time in a place that I never thought I’d be: The Midwest.
And something even more surprising? I’m loving it!
More specifically, I’m in Indiana but I’ve been roadtripping throughout the region and I’m learning a few things during my time here that non-midwesterners might not know that surprise me, or things that even people living in the Midwest might not notice.
Everyone is so friendly.
Everyone here smiles and says hello as you pass by. This isn’t exclusive to the Midwest because people in Texas are very friendly too, but it’s just an observation that I’ve made. Even in a pandemic, people still manage to smile at you. It’s refreshing.
The ice cream is different.
The ice cream in the Midwest is different than the ice cream that I’m used to… it’s thicker. Growing up, I remember ice cream being a lot lighter and, icier? More like frozen yogurt than a custard. In the Midwest, ice cream is very thick and creamy, making it more dense and filling. Don’t get me wrong — it’s delicious! It’s just different.
Local foods are more specific to the region.
Ie: Cheese curds and beer. More traditional “American” foods. Of course, anywhere has their local cuisines, but everywhere prioritizes different things. Also, in the Midwest, there’s lots of cheese.
Crops, crops, crops.
Anywhere you go, eventually you’ll end up in a cornfield. Or soybean field. Or just any farm, in general. Driving through the Midwest, you pass by soooo many crops. And, I went on a run in the city and still somehow managed to run into a cornfield.
Drivers are more subdued.
This ties in with people being more friendly. Having driven in Texas, California and Washington D.C., the drivers in each of those places are much more aggressive and rude. The drivers in the Midwest are more subdued and gentle. It’s a nice change.
I love Christmas and especially Christmas trees, so when I saw that people casually have Christmas trees in their yards, I freaked out and got really excited. Everyone made fun of me for calling them Christmas trees and not their technical name, and for spazzing out over them, but I’d love to have Christmas trees growing in my front yard! That’s not a thing in the southwest and you have to go to a specific Christmas tree farm to see Christmas trees growing. So seeing them growing so casually in people’s yards was very exciting to me.
Very active communities.
This might just be where I’ve visited in the Midwest, but it seems like communities are very active. There are lots of running and biking trails, and there’s almost always someone running or walking on them. It’s nice to see people outside and taking advantage of the lovely summer weather.
So many rabbits and squirrels!
There are rabbits and squirrels everywhere!! In the southwest, like Arizona, I feel like there’s a lot of rabbits – cute little cottontail rabbits and giant jackrabbits that run away and hide from you. The rabbits in the Midwest are tentative about people, but enjoy spending time in your garden or yard, which is different than what I’m used to. In my current hometown of Houston, Texas, there are squirrels literally everywhere, but it’s a different type of squirrels. The squirrels in Houston are loud and obnoxious and always yelling at you. The squirrels in the Midwest are quiet and mind their own business. So, the squirrels and rabbits in the Midwest are actually very different and that’s just something random that I’ve noticed.
Random nature areas.
If it’s not the city or a cornfield, it’s a nature preserve. There are so many more nature and forest areas than I was expecting. And they’re often times right in the middle of a town! In the southwest, nature areas are almost always outside the city, so I guess that I’m used to having to drive to see nature areas.But, it’s still really nice to be able to easily escape the city for a bit and be out in nature, even if you’re still technically in the city.
Of course, these are just a few things that I’ve noticed from my personal experiences in the Midwest and they might be different if you visit. But, I’ve surprisingly really enjoyed my visits to the Midwest and if you’ve never been, maybe give it a try!
Thank you for reading! Have you visited the midwest? Do you agree with my observations? Let me know in the comments below and like this post if you want more like it!